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Rock Crawler & 4x4 Suspension Lift Kits - Sick &Twisted Suspensions

Posted in How To: Suspension Brakes on August 1, 2002
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In our June '02 issue, Four Wheeler shined its spotlight on a collection of fresh-outta-the-box new suspension kits from a number of manufacturers. This time around, we turn our attention to suspension kits that are designed specifically to enhance travel and articulation. Some offer downright crazy travel for the ultimate in trail performance, while others offer a modest increase in articulation over standard lift kits. Obviously, these kits are a step above a typical suspension upgrade, but don't think they're designed just for the rockcrawling junkie, because as we all know, suspension articulation and travel spell better off-highway performance wherever and however you 'wheel. Isn't that what we all want?

Black Diamond
What it fits: '82-'86 Jeep CJ-7 and -8, '87-'95 Jeep YJ
Amount of lift: 4-5 inches
Components & features: After a brief hiatus, the venerable XCL kit is back, and it continues to offer a substantial increase in trail performance by creating a wild amount of suspension travel. The kit replaces all of the stock suspension components and includes a new skidplate which serves as the anchor point for the links that locate the front and rear axles, new radius-arm-style front trailing links, new front track bar, new front shock towers, new front shock mounts, front coilover shocks, a four-trailing-link rear suspension, rear-axle truss and a new crossmember that serves as an upper mount for the rear coilover shocks. Options include a race-inspired rear antiroll-bar assembly and an upgraded shock that is completely rebuildable and re-valvable.
More info: Black Diamond Suspension, Dept. FW, 274 Huey Lenard Loop Road, West Monroe, LA 71291, 866/680-6666,

Automotive Customizers
What it fits: 2000-'02 Nissan Xterra
Amount of lift: 3 inches
Components & features: This kit is designed to make the Xterra a serious player off-highway, and it includes chrome-moly tubular upper control arms, greasable ball joints, heavy-duty torsion bars, idler arm brace, rear add-a-leaf and all shocks and hardware. To further improve flex, rear Revolver shackles and antiroll bar quick disconnects can be added as options.
More info: Automotive Customizers, Dept. FW, 1538 SW 7th Ave., Pompano Beach, FL 33060, 954/785-4223,

Currie Enterprises
What it fits: '97-'02 Jeep TJ
Amount of lift: 4-4 1/2-inches
Components & features: Currie enterprises calls this flexy kit the Johnny Joint Suspension, and it features new coil springs, front and rear bumpstop kit, Antirock antiroll-bar or JKS antiroll-bar disconnects, Johnny Joint-equipped adjustable track bar and control arms, rear track-bar arm relocater and Rancho RS 9000 shocks. This complete and balanced component kit features zerk fittings for lubrication at all pivot points and Currie's exclusive polyurethane bumpstops with rear spring retainers.
More info: Currie Enterprises, Dept. FW, 1480 N. Tustin Ave., Anaheim, CA 92807, 714/528-6957,

Calmini Products
What it fits: '99-'01 Suzuki Grand Vitara/Chevy Tracker
Amount of lift: 2 1/2 inches
Components & features: Longer control arms are one of the items that make this kit a must-have for the serious Grand Vitara/Tracker owner who wants improved articulation. The kit also includes two heavy-duty rear coil springs, heavy-duty link arms, new ball joints, rear track-bar bracket, replacement front struts, rear shocks with boots, bumpstop extensions, strut spacers, complete hardware and polyurethane bushings at all contact points. The kit allows for full articulation with tires up to 29 1/2 inches tall.
More info: Calmini Products, Dept. FW, 6951 McDivitt Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93313, 800/345-3305,

Downey Off-Road
What it fits: '86-'95 Toyota mini pickups, 4Runner
Amount of lift: 3 inches
Components & features: This kit provides an impressive frontend travel increase of five inches-or a total travel improvement from the stock 6 inches to 11 inches; plus it offers an additional 3 inches of droop extension. Best of all, the kit doesn't lower the front differential housing, so there isn't any lost ground clearance. Later this year Downey will introduce its newest kit for '86-'95 Toyotas, which will offer 13 1/2 inches of total travel, nearly indestructible Porsche Turbo CV joints, and stock torsion bars replaced with a coil-spring conversion.
More info: Downey Off-Road, Dept. FW, 10001 S. Pioneer Blvd., P.O. Box 3725, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670-3221, 562/949-9494,

Fabtech Motorsports
What it fits: '94-2000 Dodge Ram 1500
Amount of lift: 5 1/2 inches
Components & features: Fullsize Dodge Rams are cool, and Fabtech designed this kit to ensure that owners of said vehicles could squeeze every bit of fun out of these solid-axle machines by offering increased suspension articulation. The kit includes new 5 1/2-inch-lift front coil springs, upper and lower tubular extended-link arms that allow the front axle to travel further without bind, track-bar relocation bracket, heavy-duty link mounts, dropped pitman arm and shocks. Rear suspension options include blocks and add-a-leaf combo or replacement leaf springs. A multiple shock system is available for the front suspension.
More info: Fabtech Motorsports, Dept. FW, 1000 Beacon St., Brea, CA 92821, 714/990-8850,

James Duff Enterprises
What it fits: '66-'77 Ford Bronco
Amount of lift: 3 1/2 inches
Components & features: This kit offers early Broncos the ability to achieve massive articulation and suspension travel by combining the James Duff Stage II & III Suspension Systems. The kit includes 15-inch-travel shocks, longer tubular radius arms, long-travel coil and leaf springs, bushings, brackets, shock hoops, and rear shock mounts. The result is a truck that can handle high-speed washboard surfaces or low-speed rockcrawling.
More info: James Duff Enterprises, Dept. FW, 261340 Highway 101, Sequim, WA 98382, 360/683-2160,

Full Traction Suspension
What it fits: '82-'86 Jeep CJ, '87-'95 Jeep YJ
Amount of lift: 7 1/2 inches
Components & features: This new bolt-on spring-over-axle kit with shackle reversal allows for full articulation of 35x12.50-15 tires, and includes springs, front and rear perches, integrated one-piece bumpstop limiters, front and rear U-bolt skidplates, K-link replacement steering linkage kit and all required hardware. All of the components are laser-cut and feature a powdercoat finish.
More info: Full Traction Suspension, Dept. FW, 6951 McDivitt Dr., Bakersfield, CA 93313, 800/255-6464,

Rancho Suspension
What it fits: '97-'02 Jeep TJ
Amount of lift: 2 1/2 inches
Components & features: Rancho set out to design a kit that offered extreme suspension travel and compliance for slow-speed off-highway trails while retaining premium on-road ride and handling qualities. The result is the Rockcrawler Suspension System, which includes greasable ball-joint heavy-duty quick-disconnect front antiroll-bar ends with removable centersection, extended rear antiroll-bar ends with urethane bushings, high-strength rectangular front and rear lower control arms with unique barrel and double-cushion greasable bushings, high-articulation coil springs, long-stroke RS 9000 shock absorbers, special dropped pitman arm, and heavy-duty front track bar with an adjustable rod end. Rancho says the kit will permit fitment of up to 33x12.50-15 tires while creating the ability to score over 1100 on the RTI ramp.
More info: Rancho Suspension, Dept. FW, One International Drive, Monroe, MI 48161, 888/GORANCHO,

Rubicon Express
What it fits: '84-'01 Jeep Cherokee
Amount of lift: 5 1/2 inches
Components & features: This Extreme Duty Suspension System was designed to crawl through the Rubicon or blast through Baja. The kit includes new rear leaf packs, extra heavy-duty front track bar and bracket, long-travel front coil springs, Super-Flex control arms, control-arm relocation assembly, extended brake lines, greasable rear shackles, extended bumpstops, dropped pitman arm, antiroll-bar quick-disconnects, antiroll-bar relocaters and long-travel shocks.
More info: Rubicon Express, Dept. FW, 3315 Monier Circle, Rancho Cordova, CA 95724, 916/858-8575,

Old Man Emu
What it fits: '97-'02 Jeep Wrangler TJ
Amount of lift: 2 inches
Components & features: The designers of this kit took an entirely different approach to creating a flexy suspension. Their goals were to keep the vehicle's center of gravity low while maximizing the suspension's overall travel and articulation. The result is a kit that includes stock or heavy-load front and rear coil springs, comfort or firm-valved shock absorbers, Panhard-rod bracket, transfer case spacer kit, rear bumpstop spacers and steering damper. One inch of lift is provided by the included body lift; another inch is created by the new coil springs. Available as an option is a set of 1-inch-raised motor mounts, which realign the fan and shroud while also tilting the transfer case output shaft toward the rear axle to improve the rear driveline angle. Using the motor mounts eliminates the need for the transfer case spacer kit, thus retaining valuable ground clearance.
More info: ARB USA, Dept. FW, 20 S. Spokane St., Seattle, WA 98134, 206/264-1669,

Superlift Suspension
What it fits: '97-'02 Jeep Wrangler TJ
Amount of lift: 6 inches
Components & features: The incorporation of swivels into the front and rear lower trailing links helps this kit achieve impressive articulation. The kit includes bumpstop extensions, antiroll-bar extensions, new Superide front and rear coil springs, high-density rubber coil spacers, a dropped pitman arm and new Superide shock absorbers. Options for the kit include replacement upper link arms that incorporate a swivel to further maximize articulation as well as a high-clearance skidplate. This suspension system will allow for full travel of most 35-inch tires on standard-offset rims.
More info: Superlift Suspension, Dept. FW, 300 Huey Lenard Loop, West Monroe, LA 71292, 318/397-3000,

Tera Manufacturing
What it fits: '97-'02 Jeep TJ
Amount of lift: 4 inches
Components & features: Teraflex has put a new twist into its 4-inch Long-Arm suspension system by integrating a new control-arm design. The kit now comes with two underframe control-arm brackets that install between the skidplate and the frame. Tera says that this improvement not only increases off-road performance, but also improves the quality of the street ride. The bracket design allows customers to choose between using the factory skidplate or low-profile skidplates like the TeraFlex BellyUp. Because the suspension mounts independently of the skidplate, this suspension allows easy access to the transfer case.
More info: Tera Manufacturing, Dept. FW, 8385 S. Allen St., Unit 115, Sandy, UT 84070, 801/256-9897,

Skyjacker Suspension
What it fits: '97-'02 Jeep TJ
Amount of lift: 4, 6, 8, or 10 inches
Components & features: The family of Rock Ready Long Arm Systems includes taller-height front and rear coils, longer upper D.O.M. flex links with three-piece Teflon lined spherical rod ends, longer lower D.O.M. flex links that dramatically reduce link angle during articulation to allow a minimum degree of caster change through the full cycle of suspension, adjustable-flex front track bar with Heim-style bushings at the frame end and polyurethane bushings at the bottom end, polyurethane-coated extended brake lines, double-disconnect front antiroll bar end links and extended rear antiroll bar end links, integrated two-piece subframe assembly, heavy-duty steering stabilizer, dropped pitman arm, four Softride Nitro or Hydro shock absorbers, Rock Ready transfer case shifter bracket and all attaching hardware. The 6, 8, and 10-inch systems include a unique front axle differential cradle, while the 8- and 10-inch systems include an adjustable rear track bar with Heim-style bushings at the frame end and polyurethane bushings at the bottom end.
More info: Skyjacker Suspension, Dept. FW, 212 Stevenson St., West Monroe, LA 71292, 318/3880816,

Tuff Country
What it fits: '81-'96 Ford F-150
Amount of lift: 4 inches
Components & features: This performance EZ-Ride Suspension kit includes longer radius arms that translate to better articulation, more ground clearance and a sharper turning radius. The kit also includes new front coil springs, radius arm brackets, axle pivot brackets, sway bar drop bracket, support bracket, shock absorbers, rear add-a-leaf, brake-line extension kit and all necessary hardware. A variation of this kit is also available for '80-'96 Ford F-150s, and it generates 6 inches of lift and comes complete with longer radius arms.
More info: Tuff Country, Dept. FW, 4165 W. Nike Dr., West Jordan, UT 84088, 800/288-2190,

Wild Horses
What it fits: '66-'77 Ford Bronco
Amount of lift: 5 1/2 inches
Components & features: One of the ways this kit offers massive articulation for early Broncos is the extreme-duty radius arms, which are 12 inches longer than stock. Other components in this comprehensive kit include Rock Crawler coil springs, 14-piece bushing kit, front bumpstops, track-bar drop bracket, drop pitman arm, Extreme front shock hoops, front and rear brake lines, rear 11-leaf spring packs, rear spring and shackle bushing kit, U-bolts, eight shocks with boots, rear shock hoops, rear bumpstops, rear bumpstop mounting plates, right and left emergency brake cables and 6-degree shims.
More info: Wild Horses, Dept. FW, 640 North El Dorado, Stockton, CA 95202, 209/943-0991,

Tomken Machine
What it fits: '84-'01 Jeep Cherokee
Amount of lift: 8 inches
Components & features: Currie Johnny Joints on the adjustable long control arms allow this kit to create premium suspension articulation, and the total package includes 6-inch lift coils and leaf springs, 2-inch coil spring spacers, tapered axle shims, track-bar drop-down bracket, adjustable track bar, drop pitman arm, bumpstops, stainless steel brake lines, transmission control arm mount, upper control arm relocater brackets, U-bolts, antiroll-bar disconnects and rear 2-inch lift shackles. The kit also includes a new heavy-duty crossmember for mounting the lower control arms. This system was designed to balance stable highway driving with the flex needed off-highway, and Tomken says that 33-inch tires on 8-inch-wide wheels will fully articulate without contacting the body.
More info: Tomken Inc., Dept. FW, 752 N. Highway 24, Buena Vista, CO 81211, 719/395-4037,

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